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New York Times, Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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501/3/20137/9/20195
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314149460
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1.59042
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 45 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
I submitted this puzzle just a couple of months ago, with CALIFORNIA ANGEL as the middle entry. I grew up calling them the California ... read more

I submitted this puzzle just a couple of months ago, with CALIFORNIA ANGEL as the middle entry. I grew up calling them the California Angels, but I didn't get the memo that they changed the team name in 1997 and again in 2005! Will wrote to me two weeks before Christmas and said they liked the puzzle for Christmas Day but asked, basically, "is a California Angel a thing?"

He wanted me to redo it with LOS ANGELES ANGEL as the middle entry — pretty lucky it has the same number of letters, but it would have been even nicer if it was 16 letters because of the eleven-letter reveal and the need to minimize three letter words. I resisted the temptation to ask "How about a BUD LIGHT?" (as a middle entry) — who puts just one light on their Tannenbaum?

ORANGEMEN creates an interesting cluing dilemma. Do you go with the Syracuse athletes, who changed their name a few years back also? Add in the fact that any entry with "man" or "men" is going to be scrutinized for political correctness. The more you think about it, the more "Supporters of England's King William III" starts to look reasonable, even for a Tuesday. I wish I could say I cleverly planned out the southeast to have several entries that could be clued on theme, but it was all just serendipity.

Happy holidays!

Jeff Chen notes:
Day 2 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For. I'm thankful for the solid products that ... read more

Day 2 of WTF? Week at XWI! I love having the chance to tell people What I'm Thankful For.

I'm thankful for the solid products that Bruce has given us over the past year. He's become so good with his gridding skills, never afraid to put in the time to work, rework, and polish his grids, to the point where I'm often just nitpicking at minor faults.

It's been a pleasure to follow his journey, all his hard work paying off in spades.

Also great to get such a pleasant theme, O TANNENBAUM also known as "Oh, Christmas Tree." Get it, a Christmas tree festooned with GARLANDs, (candy) CANEs, an ANGEL, and a STAR?

Love that clue for ADULTHOOD, too. It's a rare treat that we get such a clever notion this early in the week. It had me thinking about a step above the minor leagues in baseball for a long time.

And that clue for WENT SOUTH! It's referring to Santa heading south from the North Pole, but it made me smile, thinking about various Christmas movies where things go south for Santa before the hero steps in. Now I'm going to have to rewatch "Elf"!

And to all, a good night!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1225 ( 25,249 )
Across
1
Speaker's spot : DAIS
5
"Guess so" : ISPOSE
11
Film buff's channel, in brief : TMC
14
Novelist Ferber : EDNA
15
Have relevance to : BEARON
16
"Woo-hoo!" : YAY
17
First female recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award in film : JUDYGARLAND
19
Plastic pipe material, for short : PVC
20
Lobster ___ Newburg : ALA
21
Rural's opposite : URBAN
22
Spa treatment : PEEL
23
Become less dense, with "out" : THIN
25
Major crop of Brazil : SUGARCANE
28
"Hmm ... I see now" : AHOK
29
Another name for Cupid : EROS
30
Debauched sorts : ROUES
32
Lyricist Cahn who wrote "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" : SAMMY
34
Wonderment : AWE
37
California baseball pro : LOSANGELESANGEL
40
Some words from Wordsworth : ODE
41
Like some cereals : OATEN
42
Prerequisites for some college students : LOANS
43
Funny Bombeck : ERMA
44
Noted Art Deco artist : ERTE
45
Washington, Jackson or Ford : MOVIESTAR
50
Range for yodelers : ALPS
51
Hebrew letter whose name is also a body part : SHIN
52
Doctor Doom, to the Fantastic Four : ENEMY
54
Bagel go-with : LOX
56
Big Apple N.F.L. team, on scoreboards : NYG
57
Seasonal song with a hint to the last words in 17-, 25-, 37- and 45-Across : OTANNENBAUM
60
Ghost's cry : BOO
61
Retort to "No, you're not!" : YESIAM
62
Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA
63
Junkyard dog : CUR
64
Anastasia ___, woman in "Fifty Shades of Grey" : STEELE
65
Sneaky laughs : HEHS
Down
1
___ vu : DEJA
2
A step above the minors? : ADULTHOOD
3
Here, as derived from hip-hop slang : INDAHOUSE
4
Two cents' worth : SAY
5
Construction girder : IBAR
6
People between Hungarians and Bulgarians : SERBS
7
Pacific island nation : PALAU
8
Supporters of England's King William III : ORANGEMEN
9
Jesus, to Mary : SON
10
Put the kibosh on : END
11
Like workaholics : TYPEA
12
Expert : MAVEN
13
Go biking : CYCLE
18
Rev, as an engine : GUN
22
Apples they're not : PCS
24
Home furnishings giant : IKEA
26
Navy and Air Force vis-à-vis the military : ARMS
27
"Once in ___ David's City" (carol) : ROYAL
28
"___ and Janis" (comic strip) : ARLO
31
Saw logs : SNORE
32
Reassure : SETATEASE
33
Cakes and ___ : ALE
34
Lab culture site : AGARPLATE
35
Deteriorated ... or started out like Santa on December 24? : WENTSOUTH
36
Word after who, what, when, where or why : ELSE
38
Groups of whales : GAMS
39
Seasonal song : NOEL
43
German article : EIN
45
Rachel Maddow's network : MSNBC
46
"Stop being so silly!" : OHYOU
47
Pep : VIGOR
48
Hit musical with the song "Tomorrow" : ANNIE
49
Kidney-related : RENAL
50
Author Rand : AYN
53
Something that goes viral : MEME
55
December 25, informally : XMAS
57
Yiddish laments : OYS
58
Vietnamese festival : TET
59
Cry from Scrooge : BAH

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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